19th September 2018 | Big Easy Tour
Pack in pursuit of Dreyer at Services
Free State rookie Juran Dreyer is on course for a maiden title on the Big Easy IGT Challenge Tour after a grinding four-under 68 earned him a one-shot advantage with 18 holes to go in the season’s 10th event at Services Golf Club.
The overnight leader put on a superb ball-striking display to reel in five birdies on Tuesday.
Dreyer tops a jam-packed leaderboard on 10-under 134, with no less than eight players within five shots of the lead.
His closest challenger, Stuart Smith from Botswana, is just one shot back, while Pretoria rookie Dylan Kok matched Smith’s round of 67 to finish two shots adrift.
Two-time Big Easy IGT Challenge Tour winner Matt Bright and Gary Player School of 2017/2018 member Teboho Sefatsa tied for fourth on seven-under. Sefatsa returned a four-under 68, while Bright fired a 66 to share the low round honours with Limpopo rookie Peetie van der Merwe, who moved to sixth on six-under on his own.
Ulsterman John Mclean, Pieter Moolman and Matt Spacey complete the top 10 on five under.
Dreyer bounced back from a bogey at the third with birdies at five and nine, and further gains at 12, 13 and 18 kept him ahead of the chasing pack.
“I had another good ball striking day and the putter came to the party when it mattered. I kept the round going with solid pars and capitalised when I had opportunities to score,” said 23-year-old Schoeman Park golfer.
“It’s bunched up at the top and it’s set up to be a very exciting final round. It’s hard to make promises, but this is what I’ve been playing for. It’s going to be good to see how I handle the pressure.”
Smith is just as eager to break through on the Big Easy IGT Challenge Tour.
“A win will strengthen my chances of securing a Sunshine Tour card with a top 10 finish on the Road to Sunshine Tour,” said the 28-year-old Randpark golfer. “I have affiliated membership, but that doesn’t get me into all the tournaments. The affiliated members don’t get re-ranked either.
“If I can get a card at the end of the Big Easy season, I have a better chance of getting into the big events, so that is the end goal. I’ve got a ways to go. A win will get me a lot closer to the top 10.”
Smith made a birdie start and chipped in for birdie at seven before he eagled two par fives – the ninth and 12th – to get to 10-under.
“The birdie at the first set the tone for the round and although I missed out on some chances at four, five and six, I kept the round going nicely,” Smith said. “The tee was forward at nine and it played like a longish par four, with the wind helping. I holed a good putt for eagle to turn four-under.
“I hit a great drive down 12 and a 7-iron into the green to a back pin. The ball landed pin-high right and I drained a 25-foot putt down the hill for eagle. Unfortunately I bogeyed the 15th. I was between a 7-iron and a wedge because it was playing downwind. I went with the 7-iron, plugged in the greenside bunker and couldn’t up-and-down for par.
“If it blows like it did today, the key to winning will be to keep it play. I’m putting half decent, so if I can create some opportunities for myself over the first six holes to put some pressure on Juran, it will be an exciting contest for the title.”